Book Group: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Let’s try to get this squeezed in before Live Journal goes down for the day!

Last night’s book group discussion centered around Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. The group consensus was that the book was a very good read, and we enjoyed the way the book was a homage to Heinlein in structure and in plot. While we nitpicked a bit (ending was a bit thin, some said; others suggested it was a little wistful and maudlin; sure, your wife’s clone would be the one to rescue you; differentiation of minor characters was meh), overall, we had many good things to say.

Group We (TM) really enjoyed the idea of adventuring after 75. Group We (TM) also felt that the examination of alien life forms as something, well, alien, was worthwhile, as opposed to the Star Trek tactic of gluing a handle on the nose of a biped, and then you’re done. Group We thought the plot was well paced, the science was plausible, and the humor was worthwhile.

The book also stimulated us to discuss issues: were the soldiers really themselves, or copies of themselves, and what does it mean to be a self? What are the ethics of war? What are the ethics of interaction with other species? We didn’t come to any conclusions, because the book is good enough to support several interpretations of answers to these questions. Thus, the literature teacher was happy.

Overall, Group We recommends Old Man’s War, and we hope to read further books which discuss and muddy these issues. Well done, Scalzi.


Next month, we meet December 15th. Don’t forget to bring two things: Your gift book (inspiring or white elephant, wrapped to maintain mystery) and your short stories (no more than 50 pages total) for people to get a jump start for reading in February.

Jim Hines’ Goblin Quest is our next read. Expect some D&D parody action! Jim, we should get you added to the reading group list very shortly.


Susy Clemens

After book group tonight (Old Man’s War, to be discussed soon), I came home, and being in a research mood, wrote several pages of notes from a biography about Susy Clemens. I see the story’s end clearly now, and I’ll pop off a first draft as soon as possible. I have managed to clear Wednesday off to stay home and write, so that very well could be the day, given that I want to get wrestling integrated into another book.

I leave you with what the Clemens put on Susy’s tombstone after she died of meningitis at her home in Hartford, a very famous quote.

Warm summer sun, shine brightly here,
Warm Southern wind, blow softly here,
Green sod above, lie light, lie light,
Good night, dear heart; good night, good night.



Got back from a great weekend in Chicago. Dan and Lisa were great travel companions for myself and Bryon, and Bob and Tasha were wonderful hosts. I also met a costuming friend for tea, and we had a wonderful conversation.

But you guys want to know about wrestlers! I have three very enthusiastic interviews: one with a young rookie, one with an experience wrestling “bad guy,” and a final interview with the owner/promoter of Windy City. You know, these guys are a lot like writers. They choose a particular lifestyle, and they dedicate themselves to it, often for little pay, because they love it. So yes, I can relate.

Lisa and I had a rollicking time watching the matches. Some of the drama and antics were cheesy, and others were well performed. I had been under the disapprobation that matches were better planned. I hear they are more like dances, and the opponents read each other’s moves and respond. There’s a high audience interaction factor, so we were all rowdy and chanting, and having a great time.

This week my main goal in writing will be to integrate the wrestling interview information into the book. Then I just kick back and wait for a couple of notes from manuscripts.

Well, better roll up my sleeves and get down to it.


ETA: The next installment of Blood is Thicker than Water!

Jackal’s First Hunt

ETA: Not exactly a technical wizard, I have managed to recover the text in a sneaky way. So I was not absent minded and haphazard after all. Let the Spy Fi rejections begin!

ETA2: Edited and submitted to Coyote Wild.

So…all that work on Jackal’s First Hunt gone, except for the opening sentence. How could this have happened? Probably wonky back up? Surely Catherine wouldn’t not save something until it was done on her laptop, and then back up her initial file from her data stick onto her laptop, erasing everything? Surely.

Yet, I can not account for its absence in any other way.

Well, poop.

We will return to the drawing board with this one eventually, but I need to get on that story for the Interfictions 2 anthology if i’m going to send them anything. Luckily, the world isn’t clamoring for my Spy Fi YA story.

Information on the Interfictions 2 anthology? Brought to you by your friends at the Interstitial Arts Foundation!

BTW, where does one send a Spy Fi YA story? I expect lots of rejections once I start shipping it out, because quite frankly, there is no perfect fit market for such a thing.


Wrestler Questions

What else would you ask a wrestler?

1. Tell me about your background in wrestling.
2. When did you decide you wanted to be a wrestler?
3. Tell me about your wrestling persona.
4. How do you work out for your matches?
5. What do wrestlers eat while they’re in training?
6. Do you have a trainer?
7. How do you decide which wrestlers are “the good guys” and which are “the bad guys”?
8. How much of wrestling is scripted/choreographed?
9. If someone wanted to get into wrestling, what advice would you give them?
10. How dangerous are wrestling moves?
11. How much punch pulling goes on?
12. What was your most memorable match, and why do you remember it?
13. Have you ever been injured wrestling? What happened?



Hulk Hercules is edited. And it doesn’t seem to suck. But perhaps I am too close to the subject matter.

Tomorrow night, I will edit Jackal’s First Hunt. I will also put together interview questions for the wrestler interviews over the next two days, and add that information into the story next week.


I’ve reviewed the Susy Twain biographical material i have, and I look forward to working on that story very soon. If I’m lucky, I’ll make the Interfictions 2 deadline with it.

Now, have porridge for brains, so must sign off.


Editing; Why You Should Read Old Stuff

Edited: Chapters One and Two of Hulk Hercules

Right now, I’m reading Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I’m contemplating returning to the habits of my high school years–reading a contemporary book, followed by reading a really old book. Why?

One of the interesting things about meeting authors is that you are exposed to a great deal of good, contemporary writing. Certainly, this pursuit could keep you busy enough.

My tastes run to the classics naturally. I’m not sure why I like Dosteovsky flavor, or what makes me seek out another helping of George Elliot, but I do. I recognize some of the writing as dated or maudlin. Like that spontaneous human combustion that occurs in Dickens’ Bleak House, or any number of cases of brain fever that people die from conveniently when they are no longer needed in the plot.

Still, we need to take a look at the books that endure. Why do they endure? What do they speak to in us that makes us still read them? What makes Vanity Fair a vital satire today? Why should we care about the camaraderie of The Three Musketeers or the brooding revenge of The Count of Monte Cristo?

Those books speak to generations beyond ours. That might be my hope–to write a book that talks to generations beyond mine. BTW, I don’t think Hulk Hercules is that book. 🙂

Still, I could be better about writing book reviews, and will try to talk about my favorites. I’d also like to spend some time talking about the old books I’m reading and why I’m doing that.

In the next few days, with that end in mind, you might get a small treatise on Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. There’s a lot there of great worth, especially the focus on a positive spin on male mid-life crisis! I love Arthur Clennam.

See you later.


Around the Internet

Oh dear. It’s been a really busy day at work. I’m going into ping pong ball mode, as I’m juggling test norming, registration, graduation, a new curriculum, and the classes I teach. Lucky thing I finished HH:PW yesterday, because, at least for this week, my writing days have surprisingly evaporated.

But no, that’s not for your to hear about. You should know that I’ve posted more Blood is Thicker than Water at Las Habladoras.

Back to it. Only one more meeting for today.